The Wall passes through land, destroying, expelling and uprooting all that is good and replacing it with hatred, increasing people’s suffering and further distancing justice from reality, damaging all that comes in its way, whether human, tree, or wildlife. Omar Izzat is one witness to what disaster and loss means.



Omar, Abu Ahmad, is from Jayyus, a village located on a mountain; he is a farmer, married with eleven children. Omar spent thirteen years in Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia trying to provide his family with a better standard of living and better future. However, he returned in 1987 after he decided it was time to go back to Palestine and to his family. He returned with the little he saved to start a new business in his village.



And in his village, in the middle of the mountain, between the rocks, on a barren piece of land Omar saw his destiny; but other people could not understand how he could invest all he had in a barren rough land that requires much labor before returning anything. He insisted on reclaiming it, believing that the land would return to him more than he would have to give.



The land is 12.5 dunums*; he had to use a bulldozer to prepare the land for plantation and paid a large sum of money during the process. Then, for three years, he and his family ploughed and planted the land with olive trees. They managed to change the shape of the land into a series of fields planted with 80 olive trees in addition to 13 Roman-ancient-olive trees that were already there, 100 fruit trees and herbs such as thyme, mint.



Omar returned to Palestine with the beginning of the first Intifada; as a result he was rarely able to work inside the Green Line. When he was able to reach workplaces inside the Green Line it was as an “illegal” worker, exposed to all forms of exploitation by the Israeli contractors. He decided that he should be investing more in his land, the land he knew would not make him rich but would not exploit him at the same time. But he had to face the challenge of how to irrigate his plantations in the dry season as the land was far from all wells and water resources. He used to depend on his weak donkey, which was not always reliable to carry the water from a pool in Jayyus through the hard terrain to his trees. Thus, Omar would have to carry the water himself all the way back to his land, irrigating the trees which would look fresh with its branches moving bringing him satisfaction as if they were his children



***image3***

However, Omar decided to solve the water problem he was facing, with the unlimited insistence, patience, and strength he had. Using his own hands and his family’s, they worked hard for five months, day and night to have a five meters deep well, providing his family, land and goats with a water resource that could be used for all kinds of needs.



Abu Ahmad was happy with his family’s work, as at last things seemed to be working for him, the trees grew, and they started to bear fruits. “The land promises loyalty and accordance as long as we stay loyal to it,” said Abu Ahmad, “here is where we find the future and pride, here gathers the dear, wild rabbits and birds, drinking from our water and eating from our plantations”. But today the animals are running away from the noise and dust caused by the nearby Israeli bulldozer. The land was about to fruitful and green when the Israeli tyranny intensified, using all different excuses to destroy the land and uproot the trees as the Wall is passing through them, ignoring how valuable the land is to its owners, ignoring all the suffering, hard work, poverty and deprivation they went through to have this land as it was.



Omar felt that his life means nothing compared to the worth of his land; he faced the Israeli guns that protected the “wall contractors”. He stood for days in front of the bulldozers or on his olive trees about to be uprooted; he used Ghandi’s style to resist the Occupation, but the consciousness of the Occupation of Death could not understand. 65 trees were uprooted and the land was destroyed for the worst kind of wall to pass through.



The people in the village would be returning from confronting the bulldozers cursing the Occupation, but when they talk about Omar, they would be really angry, feeling that what had come over him was bigger than anything else. Everyone in the village knew him, respected his wife’s struggle to provide food for their children, she was a strong mother, raising animals and planting different kinds of food in the garden, in addition to different home food production, from food preservation to different kinds of baked goods for her family’s consumption. Women from the village used to gather at Um Ahmad’s house in the village, talking while they were cooking or baking, and dreaming about their children’s future.



***image2***

Why suddenly has all the gathering disappeared? Where has Um Ahmad gone? It was impossible for Um Ahmad to hear about the bulldozing of her land without doing anything, she has always shared the pain and hope with her husband. She has always said “We Palestinians want peace, but we also demand freedom and justice, we can not accept that they can deprive us of our rights because they are stronger than we are. We will not give up our children’s rights”.



Abu Ahmad’s story does not end here. The Occupation Military decided to change the Wall’s path and expand it and another fifteen trees were uprooted. Um Ahmad refused to stand watching; she stood in front of the Occupation’s machines of destruction, defending her land, her rights, and the rights of all dispossessed people.



She sang “Leave, leave my land, my home, my trees, leave…” However, when every thing fell to the ground, Um Ahmad too fell down, embracing the olive trees and everything she had nurtured.



Um Ahmad was in a long comma, battling death. A heart attack put her in bed for weeks, her children around her wondering why they stole their land, why they stole their mother’s smile? As soon as she was able to stand on her feet again, Um Ahmad went back to her cottage in what is left of their destroyed land, she still uses wood for cooking and baking, but she would never use the wood of her uprooted trees, “these are my children” she says. “Nobody burns his children for whatever reason”.



Um Ahmad with her family are insistent on staying on their land, feeling their small cottage is greater than any wall, pledging that nothing could make them fall.





* 1 dunum = 1/4 acre = 1,000 square meter
































x

Select (Ctrl+A) and Copy (Ctrl+C)